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John Brown's Last Prophecy
Charlestown, Va, 2nd, December, 1859
I John Brown am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty, land: will never be purged away; but with Blood. I had as I now think: vainly flattered myself that withought very much bloodshed; it might be done.
(John Brown's last letter, written on day he hanged. From "John Brown: a Biography," by Oswald Garrison Villard.)
Letter from Mahala Doyle
Altho' vengeance is not mine, I confess that I do feel gratified to hear that you were stopped in your fiendish career at Harper's Ferry, with the loss of your two sons, you can now appreciate my distress in Kansas, when you then and there entered my house at midnight and arrested my husband and two boys, and took them out of the yard and in cold blood shot them dead in my hearing. You can't say you done it to free slaves. We had none and never expected to own one...My son John Doyle whose life I beged of you is now grown up and is very desirous to be at Charlestown on the day of your execution.
(A letter sent to John Brown while in jail. From "To Purge This Land with Blood" by Stephen Oates.)
Letter from Frances Ellen Watkins
Nov. 25, 1859
Dear Friend: Although the hands of Slavery throw a barrier between you and me, and it may not be my privilege to see you in the prison house, Virginia has no bolts or bars through which I dread to send you my sympathy...I thank you that you have been brave enough to reach out your hands to the crushed and blighted of my race. You have rocked the bloody Bastille; and I hope from your sad fate great good may arise to the cause of freedom...
(A letter from Frances Watkins, a free black living in Kendallville, Indiana. From "Freedom's Unfinished Revolution," by William Friedheim and The American Social History Project.)
A Plea for Capt. John Brown
By Henry David Thoreau
I am here to plead his cause with you. I plead not for his life, but for his character, - his immortal life; and so it becomes your cause wholly, and is not his in the least. Some eighteen hundred years ago Christ was crucified; this morning, perchance, Captain Brown was hung. These are the two ends of a chain which is not without its links. He is not Old Brown any longer; his is an angel of light.
(Read to the citizens of Concord, Mass., Sunday Evening, October 30, 1859.)
Richmond "Whig" Newspaper Editorial
Though it convert the whole Northern people, without an exception, into furious, armed abolition invaders, yet old Brown will be hung! That is the stern and irreversible decree, not only of the authorities of Virginia, but of the PEOPLE of Virginia, without a dissenting voice. And, therefore, Virginia, and the people of Virginia, will treat with the contempt they deserve, all the craven appeals of Northern men in behalf of old Brown's pardon. The miserable old traitor and murderer belongs to the gallows, and the gallows will have its own
(Richmond "Whig" newspaper editorial quoted in the "Liberator", Nov. 18, 1859. From "John Brown: a Biography," by Oswald Villard)
John Brown Writes From Jail
Charlestown, Jefferson County, VA, Nov. 1, 1859
My Dear Friend E. B. of R. I. :
You know that Christ once armed Peter. So also in my case, I think he put a sword into my hand, and there continued it, so long as he saw best, and then kindly took it from me. I mean when I first went to Kansas. I wish you could know with what cheerfulness I am now wielding the "Sword of the Spirit" on the right hand and on the left. I bless God that it proves "mighty to the pulling down of strongholds." I always loved my Quaker friends, and I commend to their kind regard my poor, bereaved widowed wife, and my daughters and daughters-in-law, whose husbands fell at my side. One is a mother and the other likely to become so soon. They, as well as my own sorrow-stricken daughter[s], are left very poor, and have much greater need of sympathy than I, who, through Infinite Grace and the kindness of strangers, am "joyful in all my tribulations."
(From "John Brown: a Biography," by Oswald Villard)